Although President Muhammadu Buhari has not publicly declared his intention to run for a second term, the handwriting is on the wall: He’s gonna do it.
On Thursday, the president’s media team blasted out a statement to the media and on social media platforms announcing that Buhari has been endorsed for reelection by stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State in the course of his two-day visit.
“President Buhari did not say he accepted, nor did he decline to accept the endorsement in his speech even after the party leaders promised to procure the nomination forms for him and threatened to sue if he declined the said endorsement,” a presidency statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said.
According to the statement, while the party members endorsed him, “President Buhari merely beamed with smiles…”
In the past, the president would have described talks of reelection as a distraction. But now he’s moving ahead with it, “beaming with smiles” as his media team circulates the endorsements.
Evidence Two: At a dinner organised in his honour yesterday, Buhari gave another hint that he intended to contest and that he was in fact in campaign mode: “I am overwhelmed with the massive reception I have received and definitely since this is partisan politics, I think it has sent a clear message to the opposition,” he said.
Evidence Three: Recall that last month during a visit to Cote d’Ivoire, Buhari met with the Nigerian community in that country. Buhari arrived late for the meeting, and while apologizing, he said that he insisted on coming along with some governors “so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up.”
At the Kano APC meeting, two of the three state senators were in attendance. The only absentee senator was Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former governor who competed against Buhari for the APC ticket in 2015 and has since fallen out with his successor, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje.
Other attendees included members of the House of Representatives from the state; the Speaker and 34 of the 40 members of the Kano State House of Assembly and the 44 party Chairmen, their deputies and the Local Government Area secretaries of the APC.
Others are Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa and other leaders of the party in the state.
You must run again, Mr. President: In his speech, Kano Governor Ganduje said the party was prepared to drag the President to court to force his acceptance of the second term ticket.
I see you all: In his response, President Buhari said he understood the clamour by the ordinary people on the streets for his second term as they raised four fingers on each arm, ”meaning four-plus-four”.